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The Politics of Parliamentary Pensions in Western Democracies

Understanding MPs’ Self-Imposed Cutbacks

Anna Caroline Warfelmann

The author takes a close look at the politics of parliamentary pensions in Australia, Austria, Canada, and Germany and enlightens the reasons of self-imposed cuts by Members of Parliament. Members of Parliament in western democracies have been under growing pressure since they legislated first retrenchments of national social security systems. They are in a special situation because they have to decide about their own financial situation as well. Thus, it is surprising that they cut their own pension benefits in recent years. The book shows that the self-imposed cuts by Members of Parliament were related to public pension reforms but, in general, were less substantial.
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6 Reforming Parliamentary Pensions. Evidence from Austria: MPs Becoming Equal

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Members of the National Council in Austria were covered by a parliamentary pension scheme until 1997. A structural reform ended the scheme and all newly elected MPs now remain in the public pension fund (Pensionskasse) to which they belonged before their legislative service. Parliamentary pension regulations thus correspond to those of other ordinary employees. As a result, MPs are now either covered under the old (special) legal basis due to transition rules or they are included in the national statutory pension scheme.111

6.1 Introduction

The following section outlines the main characteristics of the Austrian welfare state and the public pension scheme, as well as the overall parliamentary income package in order to shed light on the topic under investigation and to locate the issue of MPs’ pension within the overall field of research.

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